Fin-tastic Facts About The Atlantic Cod For Kids


Oceans are well known for their wide range of diversity in species. Marine life experiences a large amount of diversity in its species. There are 228,450 marine species known to scientists, and there are said to be more than two million species still not known. One species among these known 228,540 species is the Atlantic codfish. Atlantic codfishes are temperate water fish that are found in the Atlantic ocean near North America. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) species is commonly found in the western gulf of Maine and Georges bank.  

In this article, we will learn some interesting north Atlantic cod facts. So, without wasting any time, let's begin exploring interesting facts about these top predators. Atlantic codfish belong to the Gadus genus, and that's why the Atlantic cod may appear a bit similar than other codfishes. But an Atlantic codfish has some major differences within them that distinguish them from other species. The following Atlantic cod facts will help you get to know more about an Atlantic codfish. After this, do take out some time to read our articles on codfish and eel.

Atlantic Cod Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Atlantic cod?

An Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a type of fish found in the temperate waters of the Northern Hemisphere. This breed used to be most abundant in western gulf of Maine and Georges bank but at present is facing extinction threats.

What class of animal does an Atlantic cod belong to?

An Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) belongs to the Actinopterygii class of animals.

How many Atlantic cod are there in the world?

The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) population is extremely vulnerable now. In the year 2012, there were only 100 adult fishes left in the North sea. Their population in western gulf of Maine and Georges bank still continues to be vulnerable to extinction.

Where does an Atlantic cod live?

Atlantic codfish live in the temperate waters of the Northern hemisphere around western gulf of Maine and Georges bank. These fishes can be found in large concentrations in deep sea areas like Labrador sea, North Carolina, Northwest Atlantic Ocean, and so on.  In the North Atlantic ocean and East Atlantic ocean, they are found in the North Bay of Biscay, Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Sea of the Hebrides, Iceland, and the Barents Sea.

What is an Atlantic cod's habitat?

An Atlantic codfish resides in the bottom layers of the Northwest Atlantic ocean around North America. This fish can be found at water depths of 400 m and less around western gulf of Maine and Georges bank. The Atlantic codfish is vulnerable to rises in water temperatures. Presently, Atlantic cods are being bred in dedicated cod fisheries.

Who do Atlantic cod live with?

Atlantic codfishes live and travel in groups. The larger fishes fill the role of a scout, and they guide the direction of the entire group while migrating.

How long does an Atlantic cod live?

The average lifespan of an Atlantic codfish is 20 years. Its lifespan may vary if the condition it lives in is favorable.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction method followed by Atlantic codfishes is known as broadcasting cod spawning. Most Atlantic cod spawn between the months of January and April, so between winter to early spring. In this process, the females lay eggs, and at the same time, the male deliver sperm into the column of water just above the seafloor. This method increases the chances of more eggs being fertilized successfully, and this also makes sure that the fertilized eggs will not be preyed upon. It is believed that dominant males get the exclusive rights to spawn with the available female cod fishes. The Atlantic codfishes can lay more than three million eggs at once.

What is their conservation status?

The Atlantic codfish is now vulnerable to extinction. Excessive fishing of the Atlantic codfish is the main reason for their vulnerable state. Harvesting of young fish in marine fisheries before they have reproduced is also responsible for this situation. Efforts are being undertaken to create awareness regarding the Atlantic cod and marine fisheries.

Atlantic Cod Fun Facts

What do Atlantic cod look like?

Atlantic codfishes are bony fishes with a heavy body, large head, distinct barbel below the bottom jaw, and a blunt snout. The Atlantic cod fish's body color can either be grey-green or reddish-brown. Almost the entire body of codfish is covered with dark speckles; Only the stomach of codfish is light in color and usually does not have any spots. The codfish is said to be able to change color at various water depths. Atlantic codfishes have a lateral line that runs at the sides of their body. They also have two anal fins and dorsal fins which are quite prominent in appearance.

An adult Atlantic cod has dark speckles.

How cute are they?

Atlantic codfishes are very beautiful and distinct fishes, but just like most other fishes, their appearance aren't really considered as cute. Fishes such as dolphins and goldfish are regarded as cute, but an Atlantic cod fish somewhat lacks this appeal when it comes to cuteness.

How do they communicate?

Be it any type of fish, all the fishes will generally communicate through vibrations. The fishes vibrate their swim bladders, and through these vibrations, they can communicate with each other.

How big is an Atlantic cod?

An Atlantic fish is a medium-sized fish that can grow up to 51 in long, which means that an Atlantic cord is almost 50 times bigger than a Paedocypris which is hardly one inch long.

How fast can an Atlantic cod swim?

An Atlantic codfish can swim at a speed of two to five cm per second.

How much does an Atlantic cod weigh?

The average weight of an Atlantic codfish ranges between 85-90 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no special names allotted to the male and female species of fishes, they are simply called male Atlantic cod fish and female Atlantic cod fish.

What would you call a baby Atlantic cod?

A baby Atlantic codfish will be called a fry.

What do they eat?

Being carnivores, Atlantic cod feed on aquatic animals such as herring, capelin, sand eels, mollusks, small crustaceans, and sea worms.

Are they dangerous?

No, codfishes are not dangerous to fish. They may prey upon other small aquatic animals, but a codfish is not dangerous for humans.

Would they make a good pet?

An Atlantic codfish is usually not kept as a pet, but if you keep one as a pet then it can surely be a good pet. However, the Atlantic codfish population is vulnerable. So, keeping it as a pet is possible, especially if you plan to breed and increase the size of their population.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Atlantic codfish are nutritious and rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein sources, minerals, and vitamins. A codfish is a great edible fish because of its low calories and low fat amounts.

The Atlantic cod species is not extinct. But this species is vulnerable to extinction.  Due to overfishing, the Atlantic codfish population has declined heavily.

The Atlantic cod eat a wide range of things, from worms, and fish, even the to the size of a herring, plus they love crabs and shrimp, too.

Why is the Atlantic cod population decreasing?

The Atlantic cod was a common fish but became rare when the Atlantic cod populations declined heavily in the 20th century. The main reason for the Atlantic codfish population's decline is excessive fishing. Cod fishes are consumed by humans and that's why they were heavily caught in the 20th century. And now, as a result, the Atlantic codfish is facing the threat of being extinct. Many population rebuilding plans are being implemented so that the Atlantic Codfish population can be brought out of the stage of being vulnerable to extinction.

Comparisons with other cod fish

Let's compare the Atlantic Codfish with its other family member Pacific Codfish.

The Atlantic cod is also known as the  Gadus morhua, and is a deep water fish, which can live at depths of 400 feet, and more Atlantic cod can be found in the deep ends of the Atlantic ocean. They are groundfish species that reside on the ocean floor. While the Pacific cod, which is also known as Gadus macrocephalus, are cold-water fish that live in the northern parts of the Pacific ocean near Alaska, Japan, and Canada. The Pacific codfishes live at the bottom of the ocean.

An Atlantic fish are grey-green or reddish-brown in color and have three dorsal fins, two anal fins, and a chin barbel. Pacific cod are brown or grayish in color, having dark spots on the side of their body. Pacific cod also has a chin barbel and dark fins with white edges.

Atlantic cod are vulnerable to extinction because the fish has been overfished off the coasts of the United States and Canada. So, the fishing of Atlantic cod is restricted in these regions.

Atlantic cod are known by different names such as cod, codling, small Atlantic cod as a scrod cod. Atlantic and Pacific cod are also known by different names such as Alaska cod, gray cod, true cod, Treska, Sablefish, Black cod, Butterfish or Skil, Beshow, and coalfish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including skate fish, or fluke fish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our cod fish coloring pages.

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